All of the main Superman scribes (Lobdell from Superman, Pak from Action and Batman/Superman, and Soule from Superman/Wonder Woman) team up to pen the tale of a new and improved version of Doomsday for the New 52 Universe. It’s through this particular story that readers learn more about the muddied New 52 history. In particular, it turns out that Superman has faced Doomsday before and the results didn’t go so well for the Man of Steel. So, it would seem that part of pre-New 52 history is still somewhat intact. It will be interesting to find out how, or if, some of the other repercussions from that fateful battle have any lasting impact in the New 52 universe.
However, Superman: Doomed also reveals that the Doomsday which Superman faced before was essentially a larval version of the creature he is now. This new, bigger, more snarly version of Doomsday has a few more tricks up his sleeve, but in the end the result is much the same – this is a purely physical opponent, so there’s a lot of punching. A lot of punching.
Unfortunately, that punching is accompanied by some confusing panel layouts by artist Aaron Lashley. His less action-oriented scenes in this issue work fine, but the fight scenes with Doomsday are actually a bit difficult to navigate. That’s a bit of a disappointment as there are some really great scenes here with Steel and Wonder Woman that could have used a bit more clarity in the layout.
From a story perspective, the best elements actually are focused on characters other than Doomsday and Superman. While the former is somewhat excusable, as Doomsday never had any character development to begin with, the bits with Superman are actually oddly overshadowed by characters like Lois Lane, Lana Lang, and Wonder Woman. There’s also a somewhat awkward scene with members of the Justice League. While it’s handled a bit clunky, it is actually nice to see a scene like this that deals with a question that many comic fans ask themselves when big events like this happen: if Doomsday is such a threat, why doesn’t the entire League help take him down?
The ending to Doomed is a bit abrupt but helps to set up the aftermath, “Infected,” and that actually looks much more interesting than this one-shot issue.